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  • Miaow
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23
4.6 out of 5 stars
Miaow
Format: Audio CDChange
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2004
Here, the South develop on the more-polished sound they developed on their previous record, 0898, whilst laying the groundwork for the more popular albums to come. The sound and lyrical concerns are pretty much as they were on the previous releases, with the soul exception of new vocalist Jackie Abbott... who replaced the excellent Briana Corrigan after a dispute over the lyrical content found here.
In all fairness, Abbot does an admirable job on a number of duets with co-vocalists Heaton and Hemmingway, as well as giving a strong solo performance of Fred Neil’s classic, Everybody’s Talking; one of this record’s biggest hits. Elsewhere, Heaton takes charge of the majority of the cuts, crooning along in his trademark style, whilst proving once again that he is perhaps Britain’s most underrated soul singer.
The album’s instrumentation is as layered and varied as ever, moving effortlessly from soft pop-ballads to more witty, folk infused numbers. There’s also elements of funk and dub on the Norman Cook collaboration, Hooligans Don’t Fall in Love, which features probably the best Rotheray guitar arrangement since Girlfriend, from the first South album, Welcome To... Needless to say, the musicianship of the band as a whole is - as-ever - faultless.
Other stylistic detours here include a sideline into Beach Boys-style jangle pop with the record’s biggest hit, Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud). Though the title may not seem immediately recognisable, I assure you that the classic hook-line “I want my love, my joy, my laugh my smile, my needs... I want my sun-drenched, wind-swept Ingrid Bergman kiss” will have you tapping your foot like nobody’s business.
Other standout tracks are the intimate, though often cynical Especially for You (definitely not to be confused with the bland 80’s Kylie hit of the same name) and the infamous Andrew Lloyd Webber parody, Mini-Correct. Personally, I think this song is great, just about over-coming it’s shocking misogyny to instead, present us with a wonderful condemnation of ladishness and lad culture in general. You have been warned...!
However, the real reason to buy this album is track five... the beautiful ballad Pretties Eyes. Here we have a love song that deals with characters firmly outside of the key demographic... an idea that would become an archetypical concern in later South songs, such as Perfect 10 and ‘Till You Cant Took it in. This is the first, and best, variation on the theme... a stunning, and certainly undervalued pop classic in every respect of the word.
This is a great record. Lovely pop songs with an underlining social substance. It may not make any great leaps in musical experimentation; but if you want an album filled with good, solid songs performed by people with talent... then you wont go far wrong with this one. Miaow...!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2006
Album number four came out with a sombre face.

Opener "Hold On To What?" showed that the songwriting was still first-rate but tracks like "Worthless Lie" and "Tattoo" suggets something might have been eating at Mr Heaton.

"Prettiest Eyes" is simply charming and "Good As Gold" is irresistable.

However, some of the material on here, such as "Mini Correct" is unsettling and not particularly likeable and lack depth.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2001
As someone who has been a huge fan of the Beautiful South now for 8 years, it always frustrates me the way they are often frowned upon as merely "middle of the road" and are never really fully appreciated by most of the so-called music press. OK, so they will never be an important band or change anyones lives but they have made some truly underrated albums in their time. However, by saying that I mean those albums made prior to the release of 1994's 'Carry On Up The Charts' compliation, because after that it all went too commercial for my liking. 'Miaow' is the one album of theirs I can always go back to and become completely overrawed by. Paul Heaton's lyrics are as effective and moving as anything penned by the likes of say, Thom Yorke, and if there is one thing he and co-writer Dave Rotheray know how to do well it's to write near-on perfect pop songs such as 'Good As Gold'. Excluding maybe just the cover of 'Everybody's Talkin', I love every track on here. Stand outs being the opener 'Hold On To What', 'Prettiest Eyes', 'Mini Correct' and 'Worthless Lie' - a sharp and quite beautiful tale about two ex-lovers, still longing for each other whilst both now involved in new relationships. Its also the first album to showcase Jacqui Abbott's vocals, who proved an equally good, if not better, vocalist than her predecessor Briana Corrigan. 'Miaow' and 'Welcome To The Beautiful South' still remain the band's defining moments in a 7 studio album career. After the disappointing commercial success of 'Painting It Red', I think most TBS fans are at the moment a little lost as to what their next move will be. I hope they don't call it a day anyway. Whatever happens, 'Miaow' is still up their in my all time top 5 albums. And I'm no huge pop music fan - my other fav albums are by the likes of Radiohead, Jeff Buckley and Ryan Adams. I would just recommend this album to anyone who knows a good album when they hear it. Go buy it now and worship the musical genius that is Heaton & Rotheray! :-)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2003
Miaow is definately one of The Beautiful souths finest albums. It is not too everyones taste , and shows the extremeties of their lyrics and music.
Hold on , the opening track is a fairly average B.S. song. Many will be familiar with Good as gold, Prettiest eyes and Everybodys talking which all feature on Carry on up the charts. Prettiest eyes may be the most moving song they've written.
The rhythm of Hooligans.... is very catchy, and the 'undergound'feel of Hold me close is captured brilliantly here.
Hidden Jukebox is probably the weakest song on the album. Mini - correct is a good song, but not for the easily offended.
Worthless lie is another one of those cynical songs that is hidden by great melodies
I'm not sure i like the end song, but even so it is very compelling. The raw and emotional Poppy tells of soldiers fighting with reference to 'Beadles about', the old tv program.
However this is an album to own if you're a fan of their style or of great tunes generally.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This fourth release from the Beautiful South continues their manifesto of writing cynical, thoughtful songs about real life but with foot tapping jaunty, jazzy/bluesy/soulful musical arrangements. There are many instances of almost perfect pop to be found here, great music that bears repeat listens and never fails to have you singing along and finding new meaning in the lyrics.

The mood of the band swings around somewhat on this release; from the downbeat opener `Hold On' and the sad tale of loneliness that is `Especially For You' to the jaunty `Good as Gold' and `Prettiest eyes' to the rather odd `Mini Correct' and `Poppy'. Despite the disparate tempos and moods it somehow comes together as a pleasing, cohesive whole and is a top notch listening experience. Following this the band played it a little safer with material designed to be radio friendly hits. This last truly boundary pushing effort however is one of their best albums. Especially if you like music that is a little out of the usual pigeon holes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2005
I love the band, and I love all their albums in one way or another but miaow is just a little cut above the rest. Each album has a theme I think (drink fuelled, arty, happy, lonely) but this one is the darker album I feel. My favourite song has to be mini correct. The brutal male over female song has the best lyrics possible "So you left me for another pretty face?" "That's not true I left you for one half the human race" is a good example and although some say it is a bit too masculine and not for the easily offended as a female I think it is hillarious and Paul has written plenty of songs that belittle men so I don't feel women should be offended by this song. Sit back and listen to the lyrics. Fantastic. Apart from Mini correct, stand out songs for me are Poppy, Good as Gold (stupid as mud) and espeically for you.
Great album, which has two different covers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2001
This album introduces us to Jacqui Abbot's brilliant voice. Though sounding a little nervous on 'everybody's talkin', she has proven to be a great replacement for Brianna Corrigan. Heaton & Rotheray have yet again delivered us with beautiful/sad/funny lyrics.This album could have you laughing or crying, or in my case...both.
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on 9 December 2010
Miaow from the Beautiful south is a really nice album.
Clever and candid.
Fed up with whats on offer at the moment, take a step back and check out some of
the music you may have missed(your taste may have matured)or maybe you just were not around then.
I am not against new Music, some is ok.
The Beautiful south Album "Golddiggas" is truly Special, maybe try out a Group called Deacon Blue.
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on 12 June 2011
'Miaow' is The Beautiful South's best album. A wonderful collection of flawless songs. No fillers on this album!
Each song is deep, layered and catchy, and the album features one of the groups most beautiful and un-cynical songs, 'Prettiest Eyes' which features some superb lyrics.
Do yourself a favour and listen to 'Miaow'
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on 27 February 2014
Not the music for any time but nice to sing along to and work to - its not going to jarr on the senses. Some I like moer than others but thats how it goes.
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